Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Ramadan, iftars, and OBAT Helpers

Good friend of CIC Saima Hassan explains the significance of compassion and Ramadan, and invites all of to join OBAT Helpers’ iftars.

OBAT Helpers is one of those nonprofit organizations for whom Ramadan holds a special significance. The Urdu speaking community in Bangladesh, towards which all OBAT’s welfare projects are directed, is Muslim. Food and clean water are a scarcity for them all year round. The festival of Eid-ul-Fitr that marks the end of Ramadan is a time for celebration — for wearing new clothes and eating good food. Many of the Urdu-speakers  are unable to participate in the celebration since the community struggles to survive and does not have recourse to basic necessities of living. Celebration of any kind in the camps is a tenuous concept. 

For this reason, OBAT hosts an iftar every year. All and any of any faith or background are invited to participate in the ritual of breaking a fast.  This year, it is hosting a second interfaith iftar as well.  The annual ISNA Iftar is mostly attended by old friends of OBAT, who are deeply connected to its mission. Every year though, OBAT is fortunate to make new friends through it — all and any are invited though usually mostly Muslims attend it. The atmosphere is celebratory, kids are running around and  everyone knows what they are doing. But people are very happy to explain things to non-Muslims.

The Interfaith Iftar is directed largely at non Muslims and is mostly attended by people of varied faiths who are acquainted with OBAT but not friends with it just yet. This year, it is being held largely due to the initiative and sponsorship of the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council). The Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Beth-El Zedeck and the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation are also joining in as co-hosts to show the true spirit of Indiana- diverse in beliefs but united in spirit and compassion.

While the annual ISNA Iftar is geared toward garnering support for both of OBAT’s projects- the forgotten Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh, as well as Rohingya refugees, this Interfaith Iftar is focused on the latter, in tandem with the platform of JRJN (Jewish Rohingya Justice Network) which the JCRC is a part of.Both iftars will raise funds for the camp residents to ensure that they too can partake in the rituals of Ramadan and can celebrate like others when the month comes to an end. 
Join in to get to know OBAT and to support refugees and displaced people in the name of compassion.

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